The dining experience is made up of more than the taste of the food alone. Ambiance, hospitality, weather, location, companions, disposition — all these (and more) can elevate or undermine a meal, cementing it as an exquisite memory to return to again and again, a wretched repast marked by regret, or, most commonly of all, a blurry fragment of time not even worth recalling.
Over the course of decades, maybe all meals are destined for that latter route, turning to dust in the mind’s eye. But I’m still savoring one that has not yet begun to fade from recollection: a pizza that I ate while watching the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean amid a gradated, cloudless sky. The evening air was cold; the car that served as my dining room, sandy and cramped. The pizza — garlicky white sauce, topped with mozzarella and pineapple; ordered from a local shop — was no longer hot by the time I finally sat down to eat, after chasing the sunset to its last remaining rays. But after a long day of driving up the California coast, hungry and exhilarated by the beauty of land and sea, each lukewarm slice tasted exceptional in the dwindling golden light. I hope, years from now, I can still remember how that moment felt. 4.5/5 stars.